Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz
Release Date: September 26, 2014
The Equalizer was once a TV show that aired during the late 80's, starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former black ops commando turned private detective who helps various clients equalize the odds. Two decades later and fan favorite Denzel Washington is taking on the role as Robert McCall. Joining Washington on the project is director Antoine Fuqua who teamed up with Washington in his Oscar winning role, Training Day. The two have created magic before and action films are Fuqua's specialty, but this film fails to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), is a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
If you are a fan of the TV show, then you would notice a few changes to McCall's character and the setting in the film. Originally set in New York, Woodward's McCall rode around in a beautiful Jaguar XJ6 but in Fuqua's adaptation of The Equalizer, McCall takes the most beautiful public bus money can buy.
There are a lot of flaws when it comes to The Equalizer but when Denzel Washington is your lead, you can afford some mistakes, well, atleast that's the case for this film. The plot is flimsy, the characters lack depth, and questions go unanswered. But one thing this film doesn't lack is violence. There is PLENTY of violence in this film which aids in the entertainment value of the film. But in order to be entertained you have to try your best to ask yourself, "How is that even possible?" If the film lasted any longer, I was sure we were going to see McCall take out the whole Russian army all by himself. The film plays in between both corners of realistic action and entertaining action. McCall, despite being in his 50's, is indestructible. If he gets wounded in battle, he quickly takes care of it by either pouring boiled honey or placing a flaming hot door knob on the wound. Guns are out of the question for McCall as he would rather kill his enemies in the most violent ways possible with any tools he might find at his job, a Home Depot-esque store. The deadly but quiet characteristics Denzel brings to McCall saves the film.
One problem with the film is the supporting characters surrounding Denzel's McCall. Moretz is not the most believable Russian call-girl but the slow paced build up between Denzel and Moretz' characters form an intimate build up. Should it have been enough to have McCall go back to his unknown past that he promised his deceased wife he will never return to? Perhaps not. But having Moretz disappear in the last two-thirds of the film only hinders the film as her character would of been better bait for the antagonists to lure McCall. As for our antagonist, Marton Csokas starts off strong as Teddy, the Russian killer sent after McCall, but as the film continues he becomes just another generic villain.
Teddy is not the only generic thing of the film as Duqua used the most generic action movie shot known to mankind; a slow motion walk away from an explosion. A scene that we have all watched countless times. Duqua resorts to slow motion scenes too often as we are given another one towards the end of the film.
The film's run time is the most damaging as it sits at 132 minutes (2 hours and 12 minutes). Over a half an hour is used on showing us McCall's daily routine and extra time is used on a subplot between McCall and his co-worker in which he is training him to lose weight, something the film could of lived without. Denzel shines in the film but nothing else shows more than shimmer. If you are a huge Denzel fan then you will have a pretty fun time in the theaters but just save your money and don't see it in IMAX. With rumors that a sequel is already in the work, The Equalizer should definitely be added to your DVD collection and let's hope that the sequel doesn't make the same mistakes as this film does have a lot of potential.
Labels: 2014, Antoine Fuqua, Chloë Grace Moretz, Denzel Washington, DVD, Marton Csokas, Movie Review, the equalizer